Extremadura – a natural touristic attraction
Extremadura’s zones of scenic beauty and ancient towns are at no more than one hour drive from Finca Santa Marta. The whole area combines an unique variation of ecosystems.
“Its landscapes are desolate and lovely at the same time; a strange mixture that has pulled and enchanted many visitors.Extremadura is one of those ancient rural regions, shaped by man and shaping him over the course of centuries. The result is a rich flora and fauna and a unique traditional lifestyle with tiny villages and ancient cities.”
From Crossbill Guide on Extremadura
Classic Highlights of Extremadura:
The Monfrague National Park area (50kms north, via Trujillo,at 14 kms).
- www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monfragüe (in English)
- www.monfrague.com (Atumon, the dynamic regional Association’s all round site)
The mountainous area surrounding 13th-century Guadalupe, now called the Geopark of Villuercas (50 kms, east).
Ranging from rugged mid-range mountains to hybrids of savannah-like ecosystems of small scale, dehesas are holm oak covered crop-and pasture landscapes. They are important foraging areas for predators (eagles and vultures), and the habitat of resident birds like owls, black- shouldered kites, hoopoes, bee eaters, azure winged magpies. And with an average of over 30 species of flowers per sq meter, the dehesas are also a botanical paradise.
Medieval Caceres, (50 kms West), across across bird- rich and sparsely populated plains, and Roman town of Mérida (80 kms west).
From Crossbill guides, the Nature Guide to Extremadura(ISBN 90 5011 223 4)
“The dehesa system evolves around the establishment and disappearance of pasture. It changes from a loosely planted cereal field into a pasture and then into scrubland. Grain is sown every four to seven years. Barley and wheat are the dominant crops, primarily used as fodder. The thin layer of soil can only produce one harvest. When exhausted, it turns into pasture land and left to recover. Sheep, cattle and pigs invade the fallow land. These attract seed eating birds, the grassy dehesas host large insects and their predators, and the scrublands give shelter to wild boars and lizards This continuing pattern of fields, pasture and scrublands underneath a canopy of evergreen oaks (“encinas”) is also home to a splendid scenery of flora. (orchids,daffodils,45 species to the square meter) “.
Steppes, Bustards, Merinos and Transhumancia
At short driving distances, the treeless steppes equally host rich birdlife, like the unique great bustards, little bustards, and sandgrouse.
Storks and Cranes
Thousands of white storks flying in from Africa breed between January and July and invade the nearby countryside while not shying from electric poles and city towers.
See www.grustours.com (with interesting European and Sp. links).
Streams, Rivers and Reservoirs
The prevailing winds intercepted by the northern and eastern sierras of Guadalupe, contribute to the rich vegetation of mountain slopes and an abundance of wildflowers along the streams. The streams lead to extended reservoirs or pantanos.
Links to further info: